The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 30: Memorial Day Memories

My husband and I have travelled to may historic sites in this country. Three years ago, we went to Normandy Beach in France and totally lost it when we saw the gun turrets on the cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach. When they played Taps, everyone in our tour group had tears in their eyes, thinking of the great sacrifices of those brave men and women on D-Day.

I am the child of Finnish immigrants. My father was a college graduate, spoke English and became a citizen shorty after he came to the United Stated. My mother was a farmer’s daughter with an 8th grade education. It took her awhile to learn English and to apply for citizenship. I remember studying with her as she learned about the Three Branches of Government, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. I was in 5th grade then. When she passed the exam and learned that she was now a citizen of this great land, she cried like a baby. It was the happiest day of her life.

On the other hand, my husband’s ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and my daughters could all be members of The Daughters of the American Revolution. I have the files and the genealogy to prove it (compiled by one of his cousins).

Gene and I have been happily married for many years, with children and grandchildren. In other countries, this match would never have happened. My father could never have married an uneducated farmer’s daughter who was “beneath him”. My husband would never have married an immigrant’s daughter who was “beneath him”. Thankfully, we don’t have a caste system here. We chose who we want for better or for worse.

Let us celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in these United States: the right to choose our leaders, the right to choose our spouses, our jobs and careers, the right to a free education through 12th grade, the right to come and go as we please, to buy and sell property. As I writer, my work is not censored. I can say what I want about what or who I want.

Here’ a poem I wrote about our great land:

America

If there is a value in America, it is ideals and philosophies,
not wealth and power. We will not keep those ideals here,
locked in our land.

When we say “Give me your tired, your poor”, we mean give us
your old, patriarchal, backward, non-functioning mores
and let us show you what liberty and freedom can do for your people.

Give us your masses of oppressed men and women and
let us teach them to read, to think and to reason, for we know
that goodness exists in the core of every human being.

If we do this, the beauty, the excellence, the giving
and helping healing heart of all people will grow, and
we will have a new world: free, abundant, kind, and caring.

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